Are games a part of mainstream culture yet? Ten developers answer

Obviously we all know that games are immersive, engaging interactive experiences – even art – but what will it take for society at large to accept them as such? We put the question to 10 top developers…

 

Sebastian EnriqueSebastian Enrique
Lead producer, EA Canada

I think it’s time. I’m 35 years old, and I grew up gaming. My brother’s 38 and he didn’t, so I was the gamer of the family – but generations grow up together playing games and slowly in that way it’s becoming a mainstream thing. Another thing is, a lot of games require a lot of time investment from people. And when people grow up and get new responsibilities such as having kids and that kind of stuff, they have less time to invest. Watching a movie 
is a two-hour experience that you can just watch and move on, but games require more investment. [Still] I think the acceptance is coming with the current generation.

 

Todd Batty

Todd Batty
Creative director, EA Canada

You know what, last year for the first time ever I went to the Spike Video Game Awards. No disrespect to them, but I said to my wife afterwards, “It’s no wonder that we’re not taken seriously when we’re being portrayed as horny stoner nerds playing games in our basements.” Most gamers I know are none of those things. What we do is an art; it’s really hard, and we have some of the smartest people on the planet working in this industry. I think we have to take ourselves seriously before anyone else will.

 

Joonas LaaksoJoonas Laakso
Producer, Bugbear Entertainment

I think its going to come automatically as people are becoming older. It’s going to come with time, but I’m waiting for games to grow up. There are way too few games that I could talk about over drinks with non-gamers. I want to see more games like Heavy Rain. Games that are trying to do something that’s not sci-fi or fantasy and has a serious theme that you can actually talk about.

 

 

Mike ChapmanMike Chapman
Senior game designer, 
Codemasters Racing Studio

I believe that a lot of people in the industry, myself included, already consider games to be an artform. Generally speaking, games and ‘traditional’ accepted forms of art are initially conceived and created with the same goal in mind – and that’s to invoke emotions and feelings in the audience. What’s most encouraging, though, is that games have progressed to a point where players themselves are beginning to consider this question 
as both valid and worthwhile.

Most gamers will be able to recount an experience with one of their favourite titles that has obviously moved them in a different, and arguably more impactful, way than perhaps a novel or movie. I think that speaks volumes about the power of games as both entertainment and as an artform.

In the coming years, games will undoubtedly evolve and mature even further and be enjoyed by a much wider range of people. So I think a lot of the barriers that may have stopped people from considering games as art are slowly getting eroded. It’s not going to be about placing the latest FPS on the same pedestal as the Mona Lisa – it’s more about how people perceive games and their worth to society. It’s not going to be without a fair set of challenges along the way, but the future is bright!

 

Mark MaineyMark Mainey
Producer, Gusto Games

I think gaming is already part of mainstream culture. For me it started with the Wii. I remember, at Christmas, watching my three-year-old daughter play bowling against my father. Who would have thought that two people with an age difference of 68 years would ever play a videogame together and have an equal chance of victory? People are no longer scared to admit they play games.